A French television journalist said Saturday that she was attacked in the same Cairo square where CBS correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted last year.
Logan said her “heart goes out” to Sonia Dridi — who told the Daily News she had just covered a protest in Egypt’s Tahrir Square when she was surrounded by some men.
She said they put their hands all over her, tried to remove her clothes and attempted to drag her away from a male colleague who was trying to protect her.
“We see it all the time,” said Dridi. “Men touch women and grab them.”
She said Ashraf Khalil, a correspondent for Time and France 24, kept her from being carried off.
“There were at least 50 guys around us attacking us, but Ashraf held onto me and told me, ‘Don’t worry. Just breathe. Breathe. It’s going to be okay,’ ” she said.
Khalil told The Associated Press the crowd surged in toward them and “went crazy.”
“It was basically me keeping her in a bear hug, both arms around her and face-to-face,” he said. “It was hard to tell who was helping and who was groping her.”
Dridi said that at one point, some of the men were telling her to get in a van and she didn’t know if it was a trap or an escape route, but Khalil told her not to get in.
“There were a lot of men in there and I’m sure now that they were of the attackers,” she said.
They ran into a restaurant, where workers locked the door and closed the gate to keep the mob at bay. They stayed there for hours.
“I had exploding tears because I was pissed off,” she said. “Shocked and pissed off because of what those guys did.”
Dridi later tweeted about the attack. Logan also went public with the details of her assault.
The CBS newswoman was sexually assaulted and beaten by protesters in the square in February 2011 during the popular uprising that toppled longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.
“Sexual violence is a way of denying women journalists access to the story in Egypt,” Logan told The News after hearing of Dridi’s ordeal. “It’s not accidental. It’s by design.”
France 24 said it was “extremely shocked,” and is working with the French Embassy in Cairo to bring Dridi back to France.
Dridi noted that she has covered events in the square for a year and a half without incident. And she also told how one man who saw an attacker rooting through her stolen bag punched him, took the bag and returned it to her.
She said she will keep reporting from Egypt. “I don’t want this to change my plans,” she said. “I want to go back to work. I love doing my job here.”
Tahrir Square has seen a rise in attacks against women since protesters returned this summer for new rallies, including incidents of attackers stripping women — both fellow demonstrators and journalists — of their clothes./nydailynews.com/